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Employment Insurance, May 2013

Released: 2013-07-18

The number of regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries fell by 2.4% (-12,300) to 508,500 in May, continuing the most recent downward trend. Compared with May 2012, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits was down 7.4%.

Most provinces saw decreases in the number of beneficiaries in May, while there was little change in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Number of regular EI beneficiaries in steady decline - Description and data table
Number of regular EI beneficiaries in steady decline

Chart 1: Number of regular EI beneficiaries in steady decline - Description and data table

Highlights on the provinces and metropolitan areas

The number of people receiving regular benefits in Prince Edward Island declined 5.3% in May, continuing a six-month downward trend.

After nine months of little change, the number of beneficiaries in Ontario fell 3.6% in May. In the metropolitan area of Toronto, there were 60,100 people receiving benefits, down 3.5% from April.

There were 3.2% fewer people receiving regular benefits in New Brunswick in May, continuing a downward trend that started in the autumn of 2012. Both Saint John (-3.9%) and Moncton (-1.8%) had fewer beneficiaries in May compared with the previous month.

The number of beneficiaries in Quebec continued its steady decline for the seventh consecutive month, down 2.4% in May. There were fewer beneficiaries in Gatineau (-5.6%) and Saguenay (-1.9%), while there was an increase in Sherbrooke (+2.2%) and little change in the other metropolitan areas of the province.

In British Columbia, the number of people receiving regular benefits decreased for the fourth month in a row, down 1.9% in May. Of the four metropolitan areas in the province, three posted declines, with the largest in Abbotsford–Mission (-4.6%). Decreases also occurred in Kelowna (-2.4%) and Vancouver (-1.5%), while in Victoria, the number of beneficiaries was virtually unchanged.

The number of beneficiaries in Manitoba declined 1.8% in May, partly offsetting the increase recorded in April. In Winnipeg, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell 2.6% compared with the previous month.

There were 1.2% fewer beneficiaries in Nova Scotia, marking the seventh consecutive monthly decline. In Halifax, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell for the third month in a row, down 3.9% in May.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Most major occupation groups posted declines in the number of beneficiaries in May compared with the previous month. The largest decreases occurred in occupations unique to primary industry (-5.5%), those unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (-3.7%), as well as occupations in trades, transport and equipment operation (-3.0%).

There were also notable declines in four other occupation groups. These declines ranged from 1.2% in sales and service to 2.6% in social science, education, government service and religion. At the same time, three occupation groups posted little change in May: management; business, finance and administrative occupations; and art, culture, recreation and sport.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries fell in all but one occupation group. The declines ranged from 3.0% in art, culture, recreation and sport to 17.9% in social science, education, government service and religion. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries in natural and applied science occupations rose 4.9%, the third consecutive month of year-over-year increases for this group.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, May 2012 to May 2013  - Description and data table
Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, May 2012 to May 2013 

Chart 2: Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, May 2012 to May 2013  - Description and data table

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

Men aged 55 and over experienced the largest decline in the number of beneficiaries (-4.9%) in May; this was also the first decline for this group after five consecutive months of little change. The second largest decrease (-4.4%) was among women aged 15 to 24, followed by women 55 and over (-3.5%).

There were also fewer beneficiaries among women aged 25 to 54 and their male counterparts (-2.2% and -1.7% respectively). Only men aged 15 to 24 saw little change in May, following an eight-month downward trend.

On a year-over-year basis, women aged 15 to 24 and those aged 25 to 54 had the largest declines in the number of beneficiaries (-14.9% and -10.0% respectively). As for men aged 15 to 24 and those aged 25 to 54, the rates of decline were slower but similar (-7.9% and -7.3% respectively).

At the same time, the year-over-year rate of decline in the number of beneficiaries among men 55 and over was 1.4%, the slowest among all major demographic groups.

Fewer claims in May

The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Following little change in April, the number of initial and renewal claims fell by 1.7% to 225,200 in May.

Provincially, claims declined most markedly in Saskatchewan (-9.7%). Other notable declines occurred in Prince Edward Island (-4.5%), Manitoba (-3.8%) and Quebec (-3.1%).

The number of claims also decreased in New Brunswick (-2.1%) and British Columbia (-1.1%), while it was little changed in the other provinces.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Fewer Employment Insurance claims in May - Description and data table
Fewer Employment Insurance claims in May

Chart 3: Fewer Employment Insurance claims in May - Description and data table



  Note to readers

Regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are available to eligible individuals who lose their jobs and who are available for and able to work, but can't find a job. To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people exhausting their regular benefits.

There is always a certain proportion of unemployed people who do not qualify for benefits. Some unemployed people have not contributed to the program because they have not worked in the past 12 months or their employment is not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their job voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures. Recent examples are the pilot project entitled "Working While on Claim," introduced on August 5, 2012, and the regulation on search for suitable employment, that came into effect on January 6, 2013.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries and the number of claims received for the current and previous month are subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from May 12 to 18. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with LFS data, which provide information on the total number of unemployed people.

Data tables are also now available online. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Summary tables, choose Subject, then Labour.

Data on Employment Insurance for June will be released on August 22.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Lahouaria Yssaad (613-951-0627; lahouaria.yssaad@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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